Goosey lucy

Helen Grant

United Kingdom

18 | Linguist | Anxious resting face

Message from Writer

Hiya! I hope you like my ramblings and ponderings - any and all constructive criticism is pretty much guaranteed to be met with a 'yay!' Please note British English spellings ;)

The Employed Collective

October 30, 2015

We arrive to find our clothes already waiting for us, piled up neatly on the crumbling laminate benches. Each outfit has been carefully numbered and labelled. 
     We dress in silence. The cheap, plasticky fabric of our shirts and trousers crackles beneath our fingertips, and when we each get our turn to check ourselves in the mirror - it is smaller than a dinner plate, but stained like one - we see the hairs on our arms bristle, grass in the midsummer drought. 
     There is a water cooler by the door, and we queue for that, too, although the water is not cool. When we have finished, we put our empty cups straight into the dustbin. We will not be staying long; we will not need to drink here again tonight.

We are ushered into the performance area. It is the same size as last week, but the lampposts have been taken down, and the grass spaces have been removed. The pathways have been carpeted over, dark blue with a tiny gold fleur-de-lys motif, and then dripped with beer. The walls are lined with polished oak booths, and also pinstriped wallpaper. There is a sticky counter with brass taps facing away from the stools, and also us. We stand together in a group in the middle of the space, awaiting instruction. Then we disperse.

We arrange ourselves around the tables, chairs, counter, fruit machines, ladies', gents', and wide-screen television. We smile at each other.

[Phatic communication]

At 9.32 the door stage left opens and a bell sounds over the loudspeakers - plural: there is one concealed in each coaster. We do not turn our heads to look at the figure on the steps, but we see him wobble and waver in the image of our tumblers. He stands just beyond the doorframe, and the toes of his brogues just graze the threshold. He clasps his arms against his shirt and turns his head a fraction to the left, and then a fraction to the right. His forehead glints in the dim light .

A man with a clipboard moves to stand by him, and places a hand on his shoulder. The client jars, and then flees.

We set down our glasses.


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